One of the major problems affecting quality of care in nursing homes is chronic understaffing and high turnover. The median rate of nursing staff turnover nationwide is 53.3%; for registered nurses it’s 51.9%, according to the Long-Term Care Community Coalition.
Attorney Eric Carlson, director of long-term services and support advocacy at Justice in Aging, a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of low-income older adults, says issues regarding emotional abuse of nursing home residents are often associated with understaffing. He points to claims made by nursing home staff to residents that certain types of care are not covered under Medicaid. “I’ve seen situations where the staff tells a resident they cannot receive care like physical therapy, one-on-one attention and even hands-on assistance with eating, all of them incorrect assertions,” Carlson says. “Many nursing homes have standard procedures that in a variety of instances are contrary to what the law provides,” he says.